On Monday 19 July 2021, England will move to Step 4 of its roadmap in easing COVID-19 restrictions.

This means that almost all legal restrictions of social contact will be removed. However, the Government is encouraging people to act with caution. Our guidance has therefore been updated to reflect this.

This updated guidance which covers Steps 3-6 of the National League System (NLS), Tiers 3-6 of the Women’s Football Pyramid and grassroots football (including Regional NLS Feeder Leagues), comes into effect on Monday 19 July and until then all participants should follow our guidance for Step 3You can read the Government guidance here.

The full guidance documents can be downloaded below and should be referred to for further details. The summary key points are:

1. On field adaptions for playing football are no longer required.
2. No limits of how many people can meet.
3. One metre plus rule removed.
4. The definition of close contact remains the same, however the rules on self-isolation will be changing from 16 August.
5. Face coverings no longer required by law, but recommended in crowded indoor settings and may be mandated by some clubs or facility providers.
6. Changing rooms can be used, however participants should use their own judgement and minimise use where possible to avoid close contact in a crowded area for a prolonged time.
7. No capacity limits for spectators but good practice is encouraged.
8. Hospitality is permitted without restrictions.
9. NHS Test and Trace QR codes not required by law but encouraged.
10. Free NHS lateral flow testing is available to clubs and we encourage clubs to take this up.
11. No domestic travel restrictions. Participants should continue to follow Government advice on international travel for any fixtures/ tournaments.

This guidance document applies to all youth and adult football and Futsal, including all formats of the game, both indoors and outdoors.

We would like to thank you once again for playing your part in helping to get our game going again. By observing Government guidance and the football-specific protocols, we can look forward to ensuring the transition back to enjoying football is as smooth and safe as possible.

In previous FA guidance, we set out the required adaptations
to the playing of the game, to align to the Government’s
team sports framework. This included not prolonging
elements of the game where players will be in close
proximity (i.e. free kicks and corners) and avoiding team
huddles and handshakes (for example).
As part of step four, these adaptations will no longer be
required by the Government and so have been removed
from The FA guidance. However, clubs, leagues and all
participants should remain vigilant and be respectful of
individuals/teams who may not wish to shake hands before
games (for example).
It is important to note that the definition of close
contact remains the same in step four. Examples of close
contact include:
• Face-to-face contact under one metre for any length
of time – including talking to someone or being
coughed on;
• Being within one metre of each other for one minute
or longer;
• Being within two metres of each other for more than
15 minutes in total in one day;
• Travelling in the same vehicle.
If a player tests positive on a team there is not a need
for the other players to self-isolate, unless they were in
close contact, have been contacted by Test and Trace,
have developed symptoms or tested positive themselves.
Therefore, players and clubs should consider how they
can reduce the likelihood of close contact occurring.
From the 16th August, those who are fully vaccinated and
under-18s will not have to self-isolate, unless they test
positive for Covid or develop symptoms, in which case
they must isolate. There must also be a two-week gap
(i.e. 14 days) between your second vaccination and this
exemption coming into effect. If you are over 18 and not
fully vaccinated, you will still need to isolate if you come
into close contact with someone with Covid.
It is important to note that players must continue to selfassess
and if they are experiencing any symptoms and
awaiting a test result, they must stay at home.
In step four, the use of masks will become voluntary in all
settings, with the Government advising people to use their
personal judgement and to take responsibility, depending
on the situation. Government advice is that the use of masks
reduce risks to people (both yourselves and those around
you) in crowded spaces. Please also note that businesses
and organisations may still require masks to be used.
All businesses and facilities will be able to open in step four,
with no caps on capacity (indoors or outdoors).
While there is no legal requirement for use of QR codes,
Government is encouraging businesses and facilities to
continue using these.
Changing rooms can be used. However, given that the
definition of close contact is not changing, participants may
wish to consider this and minimise use of changing facilities
where possible to avoid prolonged contact with people in a
crowded space.
Clubs and facilities may also wish to consider taking
precautions to avoid close contact, for example, asking
participants to socially distance and ensure thorough
As part of step four, there are no limits on spectators for
indoor or outdoor football, this includes parents and carers.
All facilities can open without restrictions on capacity;
however, facilities should follow Government guidance on
how to best manage crowds, particularly for bigger events
All outdoor and indoor hospitality will be allowed as part of
step four and can operate without restrictions on capacity
limits or how people order food and drink.
Keeping your clubhouse clean will reduce the risk of passing
the infection onto other people. To achieve this, your
cleaning procedures should be thorough and rigorous. A
cleaning schedule could include:
• Daily cleaning throughout the clubhouse and facility;
• Identifying high-contact touch points for more
regular cleaning (e.g. door handles, grab rails, vending
• Frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment
between use;
• Cleaning of shared training equipment after each
individual use;
• Having waste facilities and more frequent rubbish
• Removing any non-essential items that may be
difficult to clean.
The FA is working with its recently-appointed official
hygiene partner, Dettol, to support the return of the
grassroots game. You can find more information here.
As a further consideration for club safety at this time, The FA
encourages clubs to consider the Government’s communitytesting
programme. You can find details on this here.
Rapid lateral flow tests help to find cases in people who
may have no symptoms but are still infectious and can
give the virus to others. These are currently distributed
free by the Government, and you can order packs to be
sent to a home address. Where clubs do follow the twiceweekly
free community Government testing programme,
according to recently published PHE guidance they would
meet the criteria for a Low-Risk Pathway, meaning certain
first aid restrictions during Covid-19 can be lifted in this
situation. More information can be found in our First-Aid
guidance on TheFA.com.
All participants should ensure they have read the updated
FA guidance on First Aid, which can be found on TheFA.com.
All participants may travel to games with no restrictions in
place for domestic travel. Participants should be aware that
travelling in cars is now permitted, however this does mean
that they will likely be in close contact and should manage
any risks linked to this. Any international travel should be
in line with Government advice. Players and clubs should
consider how they can reduce the likelihood of close
contact occurring.
If parts of your facility have not been used for some time, a
thorough building inspection and walk-round will allow you to
identify any issues and damage. This will help you plan what
work needs to be carried out and should include water quality
(e.g. for Legionella and other contaminates), drains, gas
services, ventilation, alarms/safety systems and pest control.
The guidance you are reading is FOR ALL – players,
coaches, club officials, club welfare officers, match officials,
league officials, first-aiders, volunteers, parents/carers,
facility providers and spectators.
Clubs and facility providers should update their risk
assessment regularly and also update their medical
emergency action plan around player care, as well
as strictly following the first-aid guidance document
published by The FA, without exception. This is both to
protect players and any club member who is trying to aid
the player if an emergency arises.




On Monday 17 May, as part of the next step of the Government’s roadmap out of national lockdown, there will be further changes to the restrictions on ‘non-elite’ football. Our guidance has therefore been updated to reflect this. The key changes to note are in relation to spectators, indoor hospitality and indoor football and futsal.

This updated guidance comes into effect on Monday 17 May and until then all participants should follow The FA’s guidance for Step 2 which can be found here. You can read the Government guidance here.



From Step 3, spectators will be permitted to view events on both public and private land but need to adhere to social distancing rules and social gathering limits set at groups of 30 outdoors and six people/two households indoors. Please note that multiple numbers of these group sizes are permitted as long as social distancing rules are followed.

Spectators are allowed indoors, but the total number of all participants, coaches, officials and spectators must comply with the ventilation rates permitted by the particular venue. You can find more information about this here.

At larger events, capacity limits for spectators, set by The Government will apply. For indoor events this is 1,000 or 50% of capacity and for outdoor events this is 4,000 or 50% of capacity (whichever is lower in both cases).

Indoor Hospitality

As part of Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, both outdoor and indoor hospitality at ‘non-elite’ football is permitted. All participants must follow Government guidance on hospitality settings and specific advice for sport facility operators available on the Government’s website. People using clubhouses and hospitality facilities must adhere to legal gathering limits and wider government guidance.

Indoor Football and Futsal

From Step 3, indoor gatherings of either six people (the ‘rule of six’) or two households can take place. This means that organised indoor adult and children football can return.

For organised indoor sport and physical activity, there’s no limit on group numbers so long as people adhere to capacity restrictions on indoor facilities. The maximum occupancy of each indoor facility should be limited by providing a minimum of 100 square ft per person.

This guidance applies to all youth and adult football and futsal, including all formats of the game. If there are any further updates from the Government, we will communicate these in due course and we will continue to update our guidance as we move through the different steps of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

It is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers, and facility providers continue to strictly follow both the UK Government's latest guidance on COVID-19 and respective bespoke guidance documents from The FA. Any incidents of non-compliance should be reported to the local County Football Association.



We can provide an update on the return of outdoor grassroots football and support available to clubs across the grassroots football community. Wednesday 23rd March

On Monday 29 March, as part of the next stage of the Government’s roadmap out of national lockdown, outdoor sports facilities can open, and organised outdoor football can take place.

We've now published our updated guidance, based on the latest Government advice available, which applies to all outdoor youth and adult football and Futsal, including all formats of the game.


If there are any further updates from the Government, we'll communicate these in due course. We'll also update our guidance as we move through the different steps of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.



The Government guidance on travel is that the ‘stay at home’ rule will end on Monday 29 March, but many restrictions will remain in place. As organised sport can resume, all participants may travel to games but should avoid travel at the busiest times and routes, as well as minimising any unnecessary journeys where possible. All participants must follow the Government’s guidance on safer travel.


Changing rooms

Changing rooms cannot be used as part of step one in the roadmap out of lockdown and must remain shut. Toilets will be allowed to open, 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after training and/or matches. All government guidance on hygiene and social distancing measures must be followed.



No spectators are allowed at grassroots football as part of step one of the Government’s roadmap. One parent or guardian per child is permitted, where clubs and facilities can safely accommodate this and following all appropriate guidance.


Indoor football

Indoor sport is not currently allowed. This is planned to return no earlier than 17 May, as part of step three of the Government’s roadmap, apart from disability football, which is currently allowed to take place indoors.

It's extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers, and facility providers continue to strictly follow both the UK Government's latest guidance on COVID-19 and respective bespoke guidance documents from the FA. Any incidents of non-compliance will be reported to the local County Football Association.


Further FA financial support for the game

With the assistance of Sport England, we're pleased to confirm we will be offering funding to County FAs to provide discounted 2021-22 season affiliation. This will be available across the whole of affiliated football, assisting everyone with getting back to the game they love, and especially those from under-represented areas of the game such as women and girls, lower socio-economic groups, minority groups and those with a disability.

We, alongside Sport England, strongly encourage all of those restarting in the weeks ahead to ensure that everyone is able to benefit, no matter their age or gender, from fair and equal access to playing opportunities.

In addition to this, our ‘Return to Football Fund’, made possible with Sport England funding from the National Lottery, will provide £2.1 million targeted at supporting people in low participation groups to start playing again. It will also fund initiatives aimed at bringing new players into the game and cover the cost of adapting to COVID-19 rules.

Finally, alongside our partners at the Football Foundation, we also recently announced two other new funds to provide further financial support to clubs over the longer term.

The £14 million Grass Pitch Maintenance Fund is providing six-year tapered grants to improve the quality of grass pitches, while the Small Grants fund is available to help clubs pay for essential equipment and machinery they need to start playing again.

Clubs can apply for up to £25k to refurbish their changing rooms, pay for grass pitch drainage, new goalposts, pitch maintenance equipment and portable floodlights.

For more information about the funds and how to apply, visit the Football Foundation website.

Clubs and leagues can access our online support hub and podcasts which includes up to date information, guidance and signposts as well as other useful information relating to funding and support services.




Thursday 26 Nov 2020

We note the Government’s further update today [Thursday 26 November] on the three tiered system and continue our ongoing dialogue with Government to clarify the details and next steps, including travel between tiers. 

We will publish detailed guidance once we’ve clarified these details.

BCP area goes in to Tier 2


Update November 23rd 2020

We welcome the UK Government’s announcement today and we are very pleased that organised sports, which include Steps 3-6 of the National League System [NLS], Tiers 3-6 of the Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP] and competitive grassroots football, can look forward to resuming from 2nd December.

We are also delighted to see the beginning of the safe return of fans in stadiums for elite sports events and confirmation that spectators at non-elite sports will be able to attend events in line with Covid-secure guidance for each tier.
We will continue our ongoing dialogue with Government to clarify the details and next steps, and provide further updates in due course.


We can provide an update for ‘non-elite’ football in England following the UK Government’s announcement on new national COVID-19 restrictions that will be in place from Thursday 5 November 2020 until Wednesday 2 December 2020.

As a result of the UK Government’s new national COVID-19 restrictions, and subject to Members of Parliament voting tomorrow [Wednesday 4 November 2020] and the publication of bespoke guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport [DCMS], the impact on ‘non elite’ football in England will include the suspension of the following during this period:

• All fixtures and training for Steps 3-6 of the National League System [NLS];
• All fixtures and training for Tiers 3-7 of the Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP];
• All fixtures and training for the Regional NLS Feeder Leagues;
• All fixtures and training for The Barclays FA WSL Academy League;
• All fixtures and training for FA Girls Regional Talent Clubs;
• All fixtures and training for indoor and outdoor youth and adult grassroots football.

Our aim is to ensure that the 2020-21 season is completed at these levels and will liaise with the relevant leagues in the NLS and WFP and the County Football Associations [CFAs] to provide support and establish appropriate options to do so if required.

The UK Government has confirmed that school sport can continue as an exemption during this period.

In addition, the UK Government has confirmed that all Emirates FA Cup First Round fixtures will go ahead as planned this weekend between Friday 6 and Monday 9 November 2020 and all ten ‘non-elite’ clubs that remain in the competition will be able to train together and play their fixtures under ‘elite’ protocols.

Further updates on fixtures and dates for the 2020-21 Vitality Women’s FA Cup, FA Youth Cup, Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase will follow in due course.

Re-starting football at these levels has taken substantial determination and commitment from stakeholders across the game and we would like to thank everyone for their vital contributions. However, health and wellbeing remain the priority, so it is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers and facility providers adhere to the UK Government’s new national COVID-19 restrictions during this period.



The FA
The UK Government has confirmed that organised sports can continue as an exemption to its latest planned measures in response to COVID-19


Updated 1st October 2020

For the latest updated  Q&A click on the link below:


Changing rooms

Changing rooms are an area of increased risk of transmission. It is important that social distancing is maintained in changing rooms and showers and that they are only use if essential. All venues should encourage attendees to arrive at the facility in sports kit and where possible to travel home to change/shower. Use of changing rooms and showering facilities should in general be avoided where possible, although these must be available for participants with disabilities or special needs and are likely to be needed after swimming. If changing rooms are to be used, users should use the facilities as quickly as possible.

For more information see the Providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities guidance.


Updated 17th July 2020

The FA can confirm that the UK Government approved its plan for the return of outdoor grassroots football late last night, Friday 17 July 2020.  

As a result, the grassroots football community now has the opportunity to return to football and prepare for the start of the new season.  

The FA has been working hard over recent weeks to prepare guidelines for the safe return of grassroots football and, following Government approval, these can now be published.  

Football activity can take place with necessary modifications in place to mitigate the transmission risk of COVID-19.   

The FA would strongly recommend a phased return to competitive football activity as follows: 

  • ·Until 31 July – When ready, you can begin competitive training, with the overall group size (inclusive of coaches) being limited to 30 people;
  • ·From August– Competitive matches to begin, for example pre-season fixtures, festivals and small sided football competitions;  
  • ·From September– Grassroots leagues, men’s National League System, Women’s Football Pyramid tiers 3 to 6, and FA Competitions can commence. 

Clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents/carers, spectators and football facility providers should read The FA’s full guidelines, which are accessible below, in addition to the latest Government guidance on COVID-19.  

A return to competitive football should only happen once clubs and facility providers have completed the necessary risk assessments and comprehensive plans are in place. 

A summary of key points to consider from The FA’s guidelines are listed for ease below: 

  • ·Everyone should self-assess for COVID-19 symptoms before every training session or match. If you are symptomatic or living in a household with possible or actual COVID-19 infection you must not participate or attend; 
  • ·Clubs and facility providers should ensure that their facility is compliant with current Government legislation and guidance related to COVID-19; 
  • ·Competitive training is now permitted, with groups limited to a maximum of 30 people, including coaches; 
  • ·Competitive match play is permitted, with social distancing in place before and after the match, and in any breaks in play
  • ·Players and officials should sanitise hands before and after a game as well as scheduled breaks throughout a game or training session;
  • ·Ball handling should be kept to a minimum with most contact via a boot and the ball disinfected in breaks of play;
  • ·Youth football coaches are encouraged to limit persistent close proximity of participants during match play and training; 
  • ·Goal celebrations should be avoided;
  • ·Equipment should not be shared, and goalkeepers should ensure they disinfect their gloves regularly in breaks in training or matches and thoroughly afterwards. Where possible, coaches should only handle equipment in training;
  • ·Where possible, players, coaches and officials should arrive changed and shower at home. Use of changing and shower facilities must follow government advice on the use of indoor facilities; 
  • ·Participants should follow best practice for travel including minimising use of public transport and walking or cycling if possible. People from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle
  • ·Clubs should keep a record of attendees at a match or training session, including contact details, to support NHS Test and Trace; 
  • ·Clubs should ensure they are affiliated with their County Football Association

Separate guidance has been developed for clubs with teams competing in the men’s National League System (NLS) and the Women’s Football Pyramid tiers 3 to 6. This will support these Clubs on the safe return of paying spectators and also the applicability of the guidance to facilities under Ground Grading conditions, to ensure the safe return of competitive matches.   

Please note that at this stage, indoor football and futsal is not permitted. The FA will look to work with indoor facility providers to develop appropriate guidance for indoor formats as soon as possible.  

The FA have provided FAQ’s and useful resource information, which is downloadable from   http://www.thefa.com/news/2020/jul/17/grassroots-guidance-for-competitive-football-restart-in-england-170720



 UPDATE as of 4th JULY 2020

Team sports

People who play team sports can now meet to train together and do things like conditioning or fitness sessions but they must be in wholly separate groups of no more than 6 and follow social distancing guidelines. While groups could practice ball skills like passing and kicking, equipment sharing should be kept to a minimum and strong hand hygiene practices should be in place before and after. Physical contact with anyone outside of your household is not permitted, therefore playing of any games (small sided or full) is also not permitted at this time. Avoid meeting in groups of 6 in busy or overcrowded areas, if it is so busy that it is not possible to maintain social distancing at all times.

For further information follow this link




as of 1st June, the following outdoor football activity is currently permitted:

• playing football individually e.g. practice of individual skills or fitness activities;
• playing football with your family or other people living in your household;
• football training or fitness activities in groups of no more than six, keeping two metres apart at all times.

Sharing of equipment should be kept to a minimum and strong hand hygiene practices should be in place before and after. Physical contact with anyone outside of your household is not permitted, therefore, playing of any games (small-sided or full) is also not permitted at this time. Avoid meeting in groups of six in busy or overcrowded areas, if it is so busy that it is not possible to maintain social distancing at all times.

• Football coaches can now undertake small group sessions up to six people (including the coach) but are reminded to follow The FA safeguarding policy when coaching/working with children.

During this time of lockdown the office will remain CLOSED as the Hurn Bridge Site has to be locked under instuction of the local council. If you have to visit us for any reason please ring 07594030923 and make an appointment  with Mandy.
To reflect that this League Season did not effectively occur the Finance Committee have agreed that they will support all existing teams as follows:-
No charge for BHFL Annual Subscription 2020-2021 
No Charge for League Entrance for 2020-2021 
No charge for Affiliation to the BDFA for 2020-2021 
This is a significant sum and we hope that this will help many of the clubs who are struggling financially due to this predicament. Details will be sent out in an email to all Club Secretaries.
We look forward to recieving your Form B and deposits and look forward to a Great 2020/21 season.In the meantime Stay Safe.
PLEASE NOTE: With effect from Friday 10th April 2020, Pete Carr has been placed on furlough leave,he will not be available to help you until further notice.
Please address all enquiries to the League Secretary Mandy Forbes on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. who will get back to you as soon as possible.


National League System

The NLS and the women’s football pyramid were able to build a consensus amongst their leagues and, where possible, aimed to create a consistent approach across all leagues, whilst taking into account the unique characteristics of each individual league.

As a result, The FA and NLS steps three to six have reached a consensus that their 2019-20 season will now be brought to an end, and all results will be expunged. This will mean no promotion or relegation of clubs between NLS steps three to six, and no promotion to NLS step two.

These decisions will also apply to the leagues and clubs who play at NLS step seven.

We will continue to assist and support the National League (NLS steps one and two) to determine the outcome of its 2019-20 season as quickly as possible. The planned implementation of the restructure of the NLS will also now be deferred until the start of the 2021-22 season.

Furthermore, we can now confirm that we have decided that all grassroots football is concluded for the 2019-20 season. This will allow the game to move forward and to commence planning for next season. Our County Football Associations (CFAs) will be supporting grassroots leagues over the coming days to determine how they should close out their current competitions.



Following on from The FA's announcement today, Hampshire FA are fully supporting the FA’s announcement that ALL grassroots football should be postponed for the foreseeable future. Please note that this includes ALL training and playing friendly matches.  This includes the Bournemouth Hayward Football League games and the M. A. Hart Cup Finals.    

Having consulted with the County FA it is the decision of the Bournemouth Hayward Football League  that it is Football as usual for the time being. If any Club has any concerns over playing their fixtures, will the Club Secretary please phone the office immediatley. 01202 490000. Please do take all precautions suggested below: 13/03/2020

 As you are aware, the situation with regards to Coronavirus (COVID-19) is being constantly reviewed and all grassroots clubs are advised to refer to updated information provided by the UK government via https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

Hampshire FA are closely monitoring the current situation and will continue to follow the advice and guidance from The FA, Public Health England and the World Health Organisation. We suggest that clubs share the following information with members. 

At the current time grassroots football matches, like other forms of public gatherings, have not been banned.  However, all clubs are advised to take basic precautions to protect players, officials and spectators and to delay the development of the disease.  These general precautions include:

  • Washing your hands regularly with soap and water, or use alcohol sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if handwashing facilities are not available.  This is particularly important after taking public transport.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough and sneeze.  Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands.
  • If any players, officials or spectators show any symptoms (however mild) of COVID-19 – these include a high temperature or a new, continuous cough – they should self-isolate by staying at home for 7 days.  No adult or child should be attending football matches or training sessions if they suspect that they have relevant symptoms.  If a child is not attending school due to symptoms, they should not be attending football sessions.
  • Avoid shaking hands – discuss and agree alternatives with opposition coaches, match and league officials.

High Risk Groups – In older adults, those with weakened immune systems and those with cancer, diabetes and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the risk of having severe symptoms is much higher. It would, therefore, be sensible for anyone in an at-risk group to avoid crowds.

All clubs are advised to liaise with their league/competition as a first point of contact with regards to fixtures.  Any decision to continue playing or to postpone their respective competitions is a matter for each league at the present time.